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Botany and BorderXing

Posted on: Friday, June 30, 2006

Extracts from The Botanical Guide to BorderXing (2004), a pocket-sized pamphlet created by artists Kayle Brandon and Heath Bunting, cleverly lures both wild plant enthusiasts and border crossers into the often treacherous terrain of nature asylum. Brandon and Bunting state in the pamphlet's brief introduction, "The guide can be used to identify plants, terrain, and strategies across a broad range of crossing conditions. People border cross whether they are fleeing persecution or seeking change."

The specifics of the European flowers and plants illustrated in the guide enables border crossers to be aware of the toxicity of popular specimens in the event of ingestion during times of survival. The dichotomy of floral beauty and potential illegal activity starkly highlights the absurdity of political and economic edges in a world where weather, wind, water, and sun should dictate the rules of the day.

For information on Brandon and Bunting's work, go to
The Botanical Guide to BorderXing is currently available at The New Museum bookstore in Chelsea

Topophilia and Seed Sanctioning

Posted on: Thursday, June 15, 2006

Seed Battalion (Abigail Doan, 2004)

As follow up to 'Seeds and Stones of Paradise' (see June 4, 2006 entry), I was interested to come across this posting on Topophilia, a landscape-architecture blog whose small gang of editors describe topophilia as being "an abnormal attraction to place - a tendency towards place."

The Axis of Art: "In a startling development sure to raise suspicion at the highest levels of the US government, artist Abigail Doan is exporting raw materials to Iran which, if assembled properly, are capable of producing high-grade land art. How long can she continue with this art enrichment program before facing sanctions?" (see

My seed projects and site-specific installations might now be classified as a threat to homeland security and data dispersal. One might ask, which came first - the seed, the search, the dispersal? Can we truly contain ourselves when the internet inherently allows for an abnormal fascination with places and zones that are both geographically and politically off-limits? Should I now be concerned that the ideas that I cultivate with individuals abroad might be deemed un-American or even a dismissal of the mission at hand?

Federgras (feathergrass) of the Russian steppes whose seeds are carried long distances on the wind.

The winds of change sometimes roar and sometimes whisper carrying seeds over the most impenetrable of barriers.

Seeds and Stones of Paradise

Posted on: Sunday, June 04, 2006

image of installation by Mahmoud Mahromi, Shiva Sadegzadeh, and other artists courtesy of paradise site/nadalian

I am currently cultivating an ongoing dialogue with Dr. Ahmad Nadalian, an Iranian artist, distinguished professor of art in Tehran, and the founder and director of The Paradise International Art Center in Poloor, Iran. Dr. Nadalian was selected to exhibit his mixed media work in Iran's Pavilion at the 50th Venice Bienniale in 2003. He is currently heading up a year's worth of programming and artist residencies at Paradise International Art Center, to which I was recently invited as part of a residency competition for projects exploring environmental art works and intercultural gardening. According to Dr. Nadalian's website, the word 'paradeisos' in Greek, or 'paradise' in European languages, originally came from the Persian phrase "Avestan pairi-daeza", or garden. "According to Sufis, paradise is the manifestation of absolute beauty, and the inhabitants of paradise enter into every beautiful form that they conceive and desire. Moslem mystics simply interpreted paradise as being the good deeds of man." (Nadalian)

image courtesy of paradise site/nadalian

During the next year I will be collaborating with Dr. Nadalian, his students, and other international artists who were invited to create works under the shadow of Mount Damavand. It is our intention to explore the virtual and ritualistic practices associated with defining, propagating, and disseminating shared ideas about cultural and ecological harmony.

For more information on Dr. Ahmad Nadalian's work, go to:
His globally distributed, carved rock art is featured in the May - June edition of Utne Magazine
Above image courtesy of riverart site/nadalian

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